In this review paper, new data regarding pharmacological and clinical properties of opipramol are presented. Results of animal studies suggest that this drug is a potent ligand of sigma-l and sigma-2 receptors, resulting in increasing dopaminergic neurotransmission and in anxiolytic effects.
These effects were confirmed using animal models of anxiety. Two clinical studies demonstrated that opipramol is effective and safe in patients suffering from both generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and somatoform disorders. The drug is well tolerated and does not cause withdrawal effects. Therefore, opipramol seems to be an interesting alternative for benzodiazepines in pharmacological treatment of some patients with stress related disorders and somatoform disorders.